This paper starts out from two feminist criticisms of classical logic, namely Andrea Nye’s general rejection of logic and Val Plumwood’s criticism of the standard notion of negation in classical logic. I then look at some of Gottlob Frege’s reflections on negation in one of his later Logical Investigations. It will appear clear that Frege’s notion of negation is not easily pegged in the general category of ‘Otherness’ that Plumwood uses to characterize negation in classical logic. In the second half of the paper, I discuss the claim that the adversarial method of argumentation in philosophy is hostile to feminist goals and perhaps responsible for the low numbers of women engaged in academic philosophy. Against this hypothesis, I claim that a more naturalistic perspective on logic can avoid essentialism and provide a feminist friendly and pluralist view of logic, human reasoning, and philosophical argumentation.
Comment: Appropriate for any course discussing feminism and rationality, but maybe particularly relevant as a paradigmatic counter to Plumwood's criticism of classical logic (Sections 11.2-11.4).